Exclusive Interview: John Carpenter & Anthony Burch Talk JOKER: YEAR OF THE VILLAIN Comic!

Sometimes two different worlds collide in a way that causes horror and comic fans to collectively celebrate with fervor. We all love the films of “Horror Master” John Carpenter and as the box office shows, we’re pretty obsessed with all things Joker as well. So naturally, when DC Comics announced that Carpenter, along with frequent collaborator Anthony Burch (Borderlands, Old Man Jack: Big Trouble in Little China) had cooked up a special one-shot story called Joker: Year of the Villain, both worlds went crazy and rightfully so. Year of the Villain is a mean, sometimes hilarious and completely entertaining ride, telling a story of a mentally ill individual struggling to understand why he feels the way he does and ultimately becoming a protégé to the most beloved comic villain of all time.

We thought it would fun to reach out to Carpenter and Burch to ask the duo about what brought them to DC and to the Joker and in true Carpenter fashion, what video games the Master of Horror is enjoying. Read on!

Dread Central: When you hear that John Carpenter is doing a Joker comic, naturally it’s news of the year for this writer. How did the project come to be?

John Carpenter: DC had read our work on Old Man Jack. They got in touch with me, and asked if we’d like to write a story about the Joker. Anthony and I said yes in a heartbeat.

Anthony Burch: John asked if I wanted to write it with him, and you don’t turn down the Joker or John Carpenter.

DC: Prior to Year of the Villain, you two had worked together on the previously mentioned Big Trouble in Little China comic; What is it about each other than allows for multiple collaborations? A good shared vision?

JC: I was a fan of Anthony’s writing on Borderlands 2, the video game.

AB: I think John and I generally dig each others’ stuff, and we’re passionate about much the same things, so it’s a no brainer to work together again.

DC: Joker is one of the most iconic villains around, his history is such a rich one. How was the experience of coming up with your own take on such a classic villain?

JC: Great, great fun. I agree with Anthony’s take: Joker is simply, purely evil and manipulative, not abused or broken.

AB: It was a ton of fun. To some extent, the Joker can be whatever you want him to be — funny, terrifying, satirical, malevolent — so it was fun to put our own spin on it.

DC: Did DC allow you both creative freedom with the comic, or were there any set boundaries you adhered to?

JC: Complete creative freedom.

AB: They let us get away with everything we wanted to do, which still amazes me.

DC: Joker is, in some ways, close to a Universal Monster in the sense that he has been interpreted by many different creators and multiple takes on the character. What makes Joker such a beloved villain to you both?

JC: He’s the ultimate villain, in a physical and verbal sense. Full of bad jokes and puns.

AB: His unpredictability. What does he want? Where does he come from? We still don’t really know for certain, and that makes any scene with him in it extremely suspenseful. He’s just as likely to make you laugh as slit your throat.

DC: John, I know you’re big on video games and Anthony, you’ve written some of the best. Are there any recent games you’re digging these days?

JC: I’m playing Borderlands 3 and I’m full of hope for Dying Light 2 coming out this Christmas.

AB: I’m really loving Hollow Knight and Streets of Rogue at the moment.

DC: John, you’ve been very active in your music career and also in comics in the past few years. I can only imagine the sandbox of playing in those isn’t as limiting as filmmaking can be, with being able to create something within a specific budget. Is the freedom to create something without those restrictions something that interests you in those?

JC: Absolutely!



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